FFfAW: The Birth of Ambition


The Birth of Ambition

“This used to be one of the greatest gardens in the area.” The rough voice caught Finley’s attention as he stomped along the path. “Some day it could be great again.”

Finley paused, juggling his armfuls of equipment as he peered at the old gardener who stood beside the path, leaning on a spade. With weathered face and dirt encrusted skin, the grizzled figure seemed almost part of the garden. Finley hadn’t even noticed his presence until he spoke.

“Uh, sure.” Finley shrugged. What else could he say? It was only his first day on the job, after all, and all he’d done so far was fetch and carry. The cranky head gardener had barely even let him get his hands dirty.

“You could make it great again.”

Images of beautifully managed plots, with carefully tended lines of vegetables and flowers, and paths winding through lush growth that buzzed with life, filled Finley’s mind. He blinked. The desire to see it happen, to make it happen, settled deep in his chest.

When he looked again the old gardener had vanished.

Word Count: 175

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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. This week’s photo prompt was provided by me! I hadn’t planned to post any flash fiction until after I’d finished my Nano month of editing, but I couldn’t really not write a story for my own prompt.

The photograph was taken at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. These gardens were neglected and fell into a massive state of disrepair after the First World War, only to be rediscovered and regenerated in the 1990s. There are now numerous different areas open to the public, including the vegetable garden pictured above, a flower garden, the Italian garden, Pineapple Pits, a series of lakes, a sub-tropical area known as ‘The Jungle’, plus many more.

Here are a few more pictures from the place:


35 thoughts on “FFfAW: The Birth of Ambition

  1. I love the mystery of the story with the old gardener putting a thought of making it become a wonderful garden then disappearing! Wonderful story, Louise! It really drew me in. These look like some really beautiful gardens! I’m so glad they brought them out of disrepair and made them beautiful again. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, PJ. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 I’ve been thinking about posting a few pictures from around Heligan for a while now, so this gave me a perfect opportunity to actually do so! They’re beautiful gardens, and they’ve done a wonderful job on their restoration.

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      1. There were a number of photographs around the place showing it before the restoration project began. I didn’t photograph them, though I think my mum might have for whenever she does a post on it. It was incredibly overgrown and uncared for!


  2. Wonderful imagery, atmosphere, mystery, and magical realism in this piece! You kept me hooked from the moment Finley paused. Thanks for sharing his (and the garden’s) new beginning.

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  3. Lovely story. It seems the old gardener finished his job by instilling in Finley the desire to make the gardens great again. Ambition is a wonderful thing and so much can be accomplished when a person has it.


    1. The old gardener definitely wasn’t pleased about the state of the gardens with the current head gardener! Ambition can be a very good thing in the right person. 🙂 I’m glad you liked it, Jessie. Thanks for visiting.


    1. I’m very glad you liked it, Sonny. The Lost Gardens of Heligan are beautiful and well worth a visit. They’re the only place in Cornwall that we were determined to revisit on our recent holiday there. We last visited over ten years ago and they’ve done so much in the years between. Thanks for visiting. 🙂


    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Ali. 🙂 I must be getting a little predictable with my magical twists. I’ll have to throw in a few different ones to keep you on your toes!


  4. Wise words from the mysterious old gardener, there. I wonder if that burning desire to make things right again will bring him back when the young man needs his advice. Lovely bit of the supernatural there Louise.
    Love your photos. Never been to Heligan, but it looks trul wondrous 🙂

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    1. I don’t think Finley has seen the last of the old gardener, either. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the read, Lynn. Heligan is a beautiful place and well worth a visit if you’re ever visiting Cornwall. You definitely need a full day to see it properly, though. We arrived mid-afternoon (after we’d already visited Tintagel) and saw barely a fraction of the place before they closed.

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      1. We live in Bristol, so I guess we really should go down there – saying that Cornwall is still a bit of a hike from here! It sounds beautfiul, Louise, and certainly looks magical in your photographs. Perhaps that a trip we can sneak in during the summer holidays 🙂

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      2. We had an eight hour drive to get down there from Nottinghamshire. Cornwall is definitely the most out of the way county! It’s well worth visiting, though. 🙂

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